the red pyramid

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  • Text copyright 2010 by Rick Riordan

    All rights reserved. Published by Disney Hyperion Books, an imprint

    of Disney Book Group. No part of this book may be reproduced or

    transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including

    photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system,

    without written permission from the publisher. For information address

    Disney Hyperion Books, 114 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10011-5690.

    First Edition

    1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


    Printed in the United States of America

    Hieroglyph art by Michelle Gengaro-Kokmen

    ISBN 978-1-4231-1338-6

    Reinforced binding

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file.


    Table of Contents

    1. A Death At The Needle

    2. An Explosion For Christmas

    3. Imprisoned With My Cat

    4. Kidnapped By A Not-so-stranger

    5. We Meet The Monkey

    6. Breakfast With A Crocodile

    7. I Drop A Little Man On His Head

    8. Muffin Plays With Knives

    9. We Run From Four Guys In Skirts

    10. Bast Goes Green

    11. We Meet The Human Flamethrower

    12. A Jump Through The Hourglass

    13. I Face The Killer Turkey

  • 14. A French Guy Almost Kills Us

    15. A Godly Birthday Party

    16. How Zia Lost Her Eyebrows

    17. A Bad Trip To Paris

    18. When Fruit Bats Go Bad

    19. A Picnic In The Sky

    20. I Visit The Star-spangled Goddess

    21. Aunt Kitty To The Rescue

    22. Leroy Meets The Locker Of Doom

    23. Professor Thoth's Final Exam

    24. I Blow Up Some Blue Suede Shoes

    25. We Win An All-expenses-paid Trip To Death

    26. Aboard The Egyptian Queen

    27. A Demon With Free Samples

    28. I Have A Date With The God Of Toilet Paper

    29. Zia Sets A Rendezvous

    30. Bast Keeps A Promise

    31. I Deliver A Love Note

    32. The Place Of Crosses

    33. We Go Into The Salsa Business

    34. Doughboy Gives Us A Ride

    35. Men Ask For Directions (And Other Signs Of The Apocalypse)

    36. Our Family Is Vaporized

    37. Leroy Gets His Revenge

    38. The House Is In The House

    39. Zia Tells Me A Secret

    40. I Ruin A Rather Important Spell

    41. We Stop The Recording, For Now

    Author's Note

    To all my librarian friends, champions of books, true magicians in the

    House of Life. Without you, this writer would be lost in the Duat.


    The following is a transcript of a digital recording. In certain places,

    the audio quality was poor, so some words and phrases represent the

  • authors best guesses. Where possible, illustrations of important symbols

    mentioned in the recording have been added. Background noises such as

    scuffling, hitting, and cursing by the two speakers have not been

    transcribed. The author makes no claims for the authenticity of the

    recording. It seems impossible that the two young narrators are telling the

    truth, but you, the reader, must decide for yourself.

    C A R T E R

    1. A Death at the Needle

    WE ONLY HAVE A FEW HOURS, so listen carefully.

    If youre hearing this story, youre already in danger. Sadie and I

    might be your only chance.

    Go to the school. Find the locker. I wont tell you which school or

    which locker, because if youre the right person, youll find it. The

    combination is 13/32/33. By the time you finish listening, youll know what

    those numbers mean. Just remember the story were about to tell you isnt

    complete yet. How it ends will depend on you.

    The most important thing: when you open the package and find whats

    inside, dont keep it longer than a week. Sure, itll be tempting. I mean, it will

    grant you almost unlimited power. But if you possess it too long, it will

    consume you. Learn its secrets quickly and pass it on. Hide it for the next

    person, the way Sadie and I did for you. Then be prepared for your life to

    get very interesting.

    Okay, Sadie is telling me to stop stalling and get on with the story.

    Fine. I guess it started in London, the night our dad blew up the British


    My name is Carter Kane. Im fourteen and my home is a suitcase.

    You think Im kidding? Since I was eight years old, my dad and I have

    traveled the world. I was born in L.A. but my dads an archaeologist, so his

    work takes him all over. Mostly we go to Egypt, since thats his specialty. Go

    into a bookstore, find a book about Egypt, theres a pretty good chance it

  • was written by Dr. Julius Kane. You want to know how Egyptians pulled the

    brains out of mummies, or built the pyramids, or cursed King Tuts tomb? My

    dad is your man. Of course, there are other reasons my dad moved around so

    much, but I didnt know his secret back then.

    I didnt go to school. My dad homeschooled me, if you can call it

    home schooling when you dont have a home. He sort of taught me whatever

    he thought was important, so I learned a lot about Egypt and basketball

    stats and my dads favorite musicians. I read a lot, toopretty much

    anything I could get my hands on, from dads history books to fantasy

    novelsbecause I spent a lot of time sitting around in hotels and airports

    and dig sites in foreign countries where I didnt know anybody. My dad was

    always telling me to put the book down and play some ball. You ever try to

    start a game of pick-up basketball in Aswan, Egypt? Its not easy.

    Anyway, my dad trained me early to keep all my possessions in a single

    suitcase that fits in an airplanes overhead compartment. My dad packed the

    same way, except he was allowed an extra workbag for his archaeology tools.

    Rule number one: I was not allowed to look in his workbag. Thats a rule I

    never broke until the day of the explosion.

    It happened on Christmas Eve. We were in London for visitation day

    with my sister, Sadie.

    See, Dads only allowed two days a year with herone in the winter,

    one in the summerbecause our grandparents hate him. After our mom died,

    her parents (our grandparents) had this big court battle with Dad. After six

    lawyers, two fistfights, and a near fatal attack with a spatula (dont ask),

    they won the right to keep Sadie with them in England. She was only six, two

    years younger than me, and they couldnt keep us bothat least that was

    their excuse for not taking me. So Sadie was raised as a British schoolkid,

    and I traveled around with my dad. We only saw Sadie twice a year, which

    was fine with me.

    [Shut up, Sadie. YesIm getting to that part.]

    So anyway, my dad and I had just flown into Heathrow after a couple

    of delays. It was a drizzly, cold afternoon. The whole taxi ride into the city,

    my dad seemed kind of nervous.

    Now, my dad is a big guy. You wouldnt think anything could make him

    nervous. He has dark brown skin like mine, piercing brown eyes, a bald head,

    and a goatee, so he looks like a buff evil scientist. That afternoon he wore

  • his cashmere winter coat and his best brown suit, the one he used for public

    lectures. Usually he exudes so much confidence that he dominates any room

    he walks into, but sometimeslike that afternoonI saw another side to him

    that I didnt really understand. He kept looking over his shoulder like we

    were being hunted.

    Dad? I said as we were getting off the A-40. Whats wrong?

    No sign of them, he muttered. Then he mustve realized hed spoken

    aloud, because he looked at me kind of startled. Nothing, Carter.

    Everythings fine.

    Which bothered me because my dads a terrible liar. I always knew

    when he was hiding something, but I also knew no amount of pestering would

    get the truth out of him. He was probably trying to protect me, though from

    what I didnt know. Sometimes I wondered if he had some dark secret in his

    past, some old enemy following him, maybe; but the idea seemed ridiculous.

    Dad was just an archaeologist.

    The other thing that troubled me: Dad was clutching his workbag.

    Usually when he does that, it means were in danger. Like the time gunmen

    stormed our hotel in Cairo. I heard shots coming from the lobby and ran

    downstairs to check on my dad. By the time I got there, he was just calmly

    zipping up his workbag while three unconscious gunmen hung by their feet

    from the chandelier, their robes falling over their heads so you could see

    their boxer shorts. Dad claimed not to have witnessed anything, and in the

    end the police blamed a freak chandelier malfunction.

    Another time, we got caught in a riot in Paris. My dad found the

    nearest parked car, pushed me into the backseat, and told me to stay down.

    I pressed myself against the floorboards and kept my eyes shut tight. I

    could hear Dad in the drivers seat, rummaging in his bag, mumbling

    something to himself while the mob yelled and destroyed things outside. A

    few minutes later he told me it was safe to get up. Every other car on the

    block had been overturned and set on fire. Our car had been freshly washed

    and polished, and several twenty-euro notes had been tucked under the

    windshield wipers.

    Anyway, Id come to respect the bag. It was our good luck charm. But

    when my dad kept it close, it meant we were